Mar 30, 2020

Easier Way to Chinese Crispy Pork Belly

Every time I go to a dim sum place, I'm always looking for Chinese crispy pork belly. Just love that crunchy skin with greasy-free fat underneath combo, and super satisfying to hear it crackles when biting into the meat. Surprisingly, it's not that hard to make at home. It's not going to be as delicate as restaurant version, especially we're trying to keep it simple, but that crunchy touch stays strong.

Chinese crispy pork belly -



Ingredients?

  • 450 grams pork belly (with rind)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Some Chinese five-spice powder
  • Good amount salt


How?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/176 degrees Celsius. Prepare a large baking dish with some water, it'll catch the greasy dripping and provide steam during the roasting process. Transfer baking dish to the lower section of the oven.

Wash and pat dry the pork belly, as dry as possible. Cut a few horizontal slits under the skin/rind. Insert peeled garlic cloves deep inside. It'll take some practices here, and the garlic cloves need to get pushed very deep inside. 


The picture I have here, the cloves didn't get pushed in deep enough, which might fall out during the roasting process. Not a big deal since not much flavors get lost, but it's always better to keep the garlic cloves inside pork belly whenever possible.

Rub the meaty part with Chinese five-spice powder, all around expect the top rind area. Add generous amount of salt over the rind, and gently pat it down to form a thick salty layer. Transfer the pork belly to the rack and into the oven, above the baking sheet with water, roast for one hour. 


Take out the rack and remove that salt crust, it'll come right out like thick crackers. 


Raise the oven temperature to 465 degrees Fahrenheit/240.5 degrees Celsius, continue to roast the pork belly for about 45 minutes.


Remove from heat, remove the garlic cloves, and slice pork belly into bite size pieces.


There's no need to prick holes on the rind for this recipe, not absolutely necessary, and the end result still quite satisfying. Also since tons of salt was added to form a crust, I bought a cheaper version of salt for this purpose, trying to be more economical. By the way, cheaper salt can also be added to boiling water when cooking pasta.


Other oven-roasting recipes:


Mar 25, 2020

Seafood and Mountain Celery Stir-Fry

Inspired by a frequently visited Taiwanese teppanyaki place, and this teppan-style stir-fry using celery, carrot, squid, and shrimps was a staple dish there. So I took that idea and made my own at home.

Seafood and mountain celery stir-fry -





Ingredients?



  • 180 grams shrimps
  • 180 grams squid
  • 1 small bundle mountain celery
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 to 2 red chilies
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Some black pepper


How?


Peel and devein the shrimps. Cut the squid into bite size chunks.


Peel and slice the onion. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Peel and grate the ginger. Destem and finely chop the red chilies. Section the mountain celery, about 2-inch in length. Peel and julienne the carrot. 


Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a wok and turn to high heat. Add in onion slices along with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Give it a quick stir-fry till the onion turns translucent.


Add in garlic, red chilies, and grated ginger, cook for about 10 seconds, just before the garlic starts to burn.


Add in carrot and mountain celery. Cook for about 30 seconds to one minute, still using very high heat at this point. Trying to get some wok hei if possible.




Add in prepped seafood and give it a quick stir-fry. Add the seasonings towards the end, about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of rice cooking wine. Give it a quick mix again so all the ingredients are coated with the seasoning.


Plate, sprinkle some black pepper then serve.


This Taiwanese teppanyaki dish, my inspiration, was from a friendly priced place, not the high-end fancy kind. Instead of letting the ingredients shine with very little seasoning, these side dishes are often packed with sauces like black pepper sauce, sacha sauce, or heavy dose of aromatics. Some also use Chinese basil in such stir-fry. 




A little bit of sugar can be added too, but I like the scent from mountain celery, and the seafood used here were pretty fresh, the whole dish got a natural sweet taste from all these ingredients combined already.


It's always fun trying to recreate restaurant dishes at home. Plus we can't really go out these days due to the virus outbreak, perhaps it's time to pick up the kitchenware and cook your own food, bringing the restaurant meal alive at home, right? Only if we can be that good, but until then, practice makes perfect.



Other stir-fry recipes: